The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) describes ethylene glycol as a colorless, syrupy liquid. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) reports that ethylene glycol is a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water, is odorless, and has a sweet taste, although it is poisonous.
Ethylene glycol is used to make antifreeze and de-icing solutions for airplanes and other forms of transportation. It is used in hydraulic brake fluids and inks used in stamp pads, ballpoint pens and print shops. Ethylene glycol can be found in some air-conditioning systems and geothermal heating/cooling systems, and it is also an important precursor to polyester fibers and resins.
NIOSH states that ethylene glycol is used in many industries and lists some examples of workers at potential risk of exposure, including:
- Factory workers involved in the manufacture of polyester
- Workers who use certain solvents
- Employees working with heating and cooling systems
- Factory workers exposed to certain manufacturing processes
“Workers may be harmed from exposure to ethylene glycol with the level of exposure depending upon the dose, duration and work being done,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “According to NIOSH, exposure can harm the eyes, skin, kidneys and respiratory system, and can cause death if swallowed. ATSDR reports exposure to large amounts of ethylene glycol can damage the kidneys, nervous system, lungs and heart. To protect workers, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has set a Threshold Limit Value (TLV) for ethylene glycol.”
To help companies and institutions detect and monitor for exposure risks to ethylene glycol and many other potential hazards, EMSL Analytical offers industrial hygiene testing services and sampling supplies. They also recently sponsored an educational video about ethylene glycol and potential occupational exposure risks that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/KPGnCIMNoYs
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC's, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products, and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP, and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.
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